The age-old quandary of needing experience but not having experience in the first place is the problem for many jobseekers. Within graduate recruitment, however, a lack of experience is not a barrier to potential employment. In this guide, we will aim to alleviate your worries and highlight the skills which could prove vital in attaining a graduate position.

Learn how to articulate your skills: Emphasise your key transferable skills such as communication skills, interpersonal abilities, leadership and initiative

Centre your Graduate CV around the skills you do possess and around the job descriptions you are aiming to be considered for. If you genuinely do not have any relevant experience, this can be an opportunity to highlight your passion for learning and your motivation to improve.

Use your extra-curricular activities, be this in the cooking society, playing 5 a side football or being on a committee. These activities can be ample opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities such as teamwork, commitment and time management which are highly marketable to recruiters and employers.

Volunteering creates a network of contacts and showcases the skills employers covet

Volunteering positions are attained in an easier manner than internships. This is because they are unpaid and skills based. Volunteering highlights a good work ethic, a confident approach to new situations and your own initiative.

Additionally, aiming for work shadowing in the relevant work sector you are interested puts you at a strong advantage. If you want to work in sales or marketing then consider volunteering at a charity shop in a customer facing role, giving your time to an organisation such as the Samaritans or tutoring younger people.

Networking: Who you know is as important as what you know

In order to build your network, you can do a number of things: attend career fairs, recruitment events and employer talks/lectures. Additionally, seek mentorship schemes in which alumni mentors will give you the benefit of their experience so that you can access a wider web of contacts. Develop your social media following and cultivate an audience, it is not unheard of for employers to offer positions to people with a strong social media following.

Target Graduate or entry level roles in smaller organisations

Applying to SMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises), Micro companies and start-ups is a good first step as they are more open to speculative applications. These speculative applications can even open the possibility of a new role within a company.

Tailoring each application to each company is another method which will increase your visibility. Doing so will mean you stand out from other graduates and applicants and you will have a more realistic chance of getting a graduate job.

Seek out internships and work experience: Capitalising on existing part-time work, hobbies or pre-uni experience

Internships and work experience are extremely useful for building a network of contacts and finding out if the industry is the one for you. Some workplaces run work experience schemes which whilst unpaid, are extremely useful for gaining insider knowledge into how a company operates. Whilst paid internships are hard to come by, having any previous work experience will stand you in good stead and put you in a better overall position. Indeed, relevant internships in fields such as Marketing or Finance will mean that when you come to apply for a position, you will be a stronger candidate.

Action:

  • Start networking and increasing your number of contacts.
  • Develop your CV with transferable skills and relevant experience.
  • Connect with graduate recruiters and agencies.
  • Start researching entry level roles at SMEs and smaller companies.
  • Read job descriptions and match your skills to the relevant positions.

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